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Boscola Bulletin

BE PREPARED! Winter is Here!511PA.com

Motorists are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 860 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the "Check My Route" tool.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) Application Deadline is TOMORROW

Tomorrow is the LAST day to apply for the Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veteran’s Affairs Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Program.  The VTF issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that assist veterans, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran’s affairs to assist veterans in need of shelter and necessities of living.

Veterans’ Trust FundA combined total of $800,000 in grant funding is available for the 2019-20 grant cycle.

  • $650,000 in funding is available for grants of up to $50,000 for the following types of eligible applicants:
    • veterans’ service organizations (VSOs) with 501(c)(19) status under the Internal Revenue Code; and
    • non-profit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans granted 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code.
  • $150,000 in funding is available for the following types of eligible applicants:
    • individual eligible counties may receive up to the maximum of $20,000 per grant cycle;
    • the State Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs may receive up to the maximum of $150,000 per grant cycle.

The notice of funding announcement, grant guidelines, and grant application are combined in one document and can be found here.

PAsmart Grants Available to Connect Employers, Create New Job Training Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is administering nearly $4.6 million in PAsmart grants that are available to create more opportunities for Pennsylvania workers to increase their job skills and earn quality wages.

PAsmartA part of the overall $40 million PAsmart initiative, PAsmart Next Generation Industry Partnership grants of up to $250,000 per partnership, are available through L&I to connect employers in the same industry to support job training in: advanced manufacturing; agriculture and food production; bio medical; building and construction; business services; education; energy; healthcare; hospitality; leisure and entertainment; logistics and transportation; real estate, finance and insurance; and wood, wood products and publishing.

Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards (LWDB), labor organizations, economic development organizations, industry associations, local education agencies, education intermediaries, post-secondary education providers, community-based organizations, libraries, and nonprofits. Any entity may serve as fiscal agent for all grant awards. Applicants are required to partner with an LWDB on their application.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 3, 2020. Additional details, the grant application, and information about the bidder’s webinar can be found on L&I’s website by clicking here or visiting https://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Workforce-Development/grants/Pages/default.aspx.

Farm to School Grant Program

Farm to School Grant Program

As a part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill that became law earlier this year, elementary schools have the ability to apply for funding to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade through the Farm to School Grant Program. The new program aims to enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early childhood education sites.

An online application is available by clicking here or visiting https://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/login.aspx and schools have until Jan. 15, 2020 to apply. Any school district, charter school, or private school with pre-K, kindergarten, or elementary through fifth grade is eligible to apply for up to $15,000.  There is $500,000 available for the Farm to School Grant Program and grants will be awarded on a funds-available basis.

Eligible applications should include the following:

  • A list of PA farmers who have agreed to supply products from their farms
  • Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects
  • Training of teachers and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education
  • Inclusion of parents, caregivers, and community groups in educational activities
  • Field trips to PA farms or other direct agricultural experiences which teach children about sources of food and PA agriculture

Applicants with questions about the program and application process can contact Patrick Andrews at 717-772-1429 or patriandrew@pa.gov.

Resources for Older Driver Safety are Available

Family, Friends Urged to Get Involved

Last week, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which is observed December 2-6, and there were numerous events held across the Commonwealth that highlighted unique challenges faced by older drivers.

Senior DriverApproximately 23 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.9 million licensed drivers are 65 or older. In 2018, there were 21,746 crashes involving a driver 65 or older, resulting in 330 fatalities. This represents nearly 17 percent of the total crashes in Pennsylvania and nearly 28 percent of the fatalities.

The aging population continues to grow across the Commonwealth, & along with the Wolf Administration, we need to commit to ensure that older adults have the resources they need to remain active in, as well as stay connected to, their communities.  Pennsylvania has a network of shared-ride service providers dedicated to keeping older adults mobile, safe, and engaged in their community. This free transportation program allows citizens age 65 or older to ride for free on a local, fixed-route service whenever local public transportation is operating. During 2017-18, 83,252 riders accessed the Shared-Ride Program, totaling more than 3.3 million rides.  

While every person ages differently, aging typically brings certain -- sometimes subtle -- physical, visual, and cognitive changes that could impair an older person’s ability to drive safely. Older drivers and their families should work together to identify potential issues that may affect driving, outline courses of action to assist the older driver, and plan for when it’s time to hang up the keys.

Signs that can indicate it may be time to limit or stop driving altogether include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable, fearful, or nervous when driving;
  • Unexplained dents/scrapes on the car, fences, mailboxes, or garage doors;
  • Frequently getting lost and frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing);
  • Slower response times, particularly to unexpected situations;
  • Difficulty paying attention to signs or staying in the lane of traffic; and
  • Trouble judging gaps at intersections or highway entrance/exit ramps.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation  provides a ‘Seniors Driving Safely’ publication series, which can be downloaded for free from the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website and is a wealth of knowledge.  These publications help older drivers assess their abilities and offer guidance on next steps if their medical condition is reported to PennDOT. The series also includes a publication designed to guide family and friends of older drivers in what can sometimes be difficult conversations about deciding to stop driving, as well as information for healthcare providers on PennDOT’s medical reporting program.

The following safe-driving habits, which should be routine at any age, are especially useful to older drivers:

  • Plan ahead: lengthy car trips should be made during daylight hours. Morning may be best because most people aren’t as tired as they are in the afternoon. 
  • Don’t drive in rush-hour traffic if you can avoid it. Plan trips after 9:00 AM or before 5:00 PM. Know what roads near home are most congested and avoid them.
  • When driving long distances, especially in winter, call ahead for weather and road condition updates.
  • Look ahead. Good drivers get a jump on trouble by looking far down the road and making adjustments before encountering problems that may involve other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists or animals. 
  • Maintain a safe speed. This depends on what the road is like, how well the driver can see, how much traffic there is and how fast traffic is moving.
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. The PA Driver’s Manual advises that you should always keep a 4-second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Additional information on older driver safety and mobility resources is available at both PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services and the Department of Aging websites.

LIHEAP

LIHEAPThe Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program of Pennsylvania offers assistance during the cold months to keep the heat on in Pennsylvania homes. If you, or someone you know, needs help covering heating bills, submit your application for LIHEAP before the April 12, 2020 deadline.

There are three ways to apply for LIHEAP:

 After your application is reviewed, you will receive written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive. Please allow 30 days for a response.

Senate offices closed on December 25, 2019

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)